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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Drying water out behind items with the Injectidry System.

9/19/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Drying water out behind items with the Injectidry System. Drying out behind wet cabinets after a rainstorm.

Time is of the essence when drying out the areas you can’t see or easily get to after a heavy rain storm floods a basement in Waterloo, Iowa. When water gets and sits behind cabinets it creates the perfect conditions for fungi to grow as well as deterioration of wood materials!

The Injectidry system is the way to disperse and circulate air BEHIND things to dry it out. It utilizes a regular air mover by attaching the large “lego look-alike” piece to the front and adding as many hoses as necessary to spread the air around. The hoses focus the air to specific cavities that are wet. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County drilled holes in the kickplate area of the cabinets to permit the hoses to be positioned for directional air distribution.

The finished basement was restored by the use of the Injectidry system instead of demolished due to hidden water.

There's No Place Like Home!

9/18/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage There's No Place Like Home! Our Job File Coordinator using the software Xactimate.

It’s a twister, it’s a twister! When a storm hits don’t call around from place to place to see who claims to have the lowest remediation cost; SERVPRO of Black Hawk County uses the industry standard program called Xactimate to calculate the estimate of your loss. Remediation companies and insurance adjusters across the board are using Xactimate to calculate cost. So rather than making dozens of frustrating phone calls, make your first call to your locally owned SERVPRO helping individuals and businesses in Black Hawk, Bremer, Grundy, Buchanan, Fayette and Tama counties. Connect by calling 319.268.1521.

It’s more important to begin the remediation process as soon as possible and when the chaos of a storm hits, our whole team will be doing their part. A vital position in our local office is the Job File Coordinator. They organize the calls that come in ensuring from the moment you meet our project manager to production technicians cleaning up the storm mess to final paperwork including insurance details, you’re taken care of by SERVPRO to 100% satisfaction.

You can trust in SERVPRO to get your home feeling like home again.  As we know, there’s no place like home.

Disposal of Ashes

8/13/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Disposal of Ashes WARNING: Do not put ashes in a plastic trash can. We know from personal experience that it does not end well.

As the end of summer draws near, we’d like to address the proper way to dispose of any left-over ashes you may have sitting in your fire pit.

Be Safe:

Always treat ashes as if they’re hot when removing them because they can stay hot for several days after the initial fire. It all depends on the heat of the fire and what was burned.

Proper Disposal:

  • Wait several days after a fire to remove the ashes—just to be safe
  • Place the ashes in a metal trash can and dump some water on top
  • Be sure the trash can is placed far away from anything that would catch fire such as a home, garage, or tree
  • Keep the trash can away from any combustibles

What not to do:

The person who sent us these photos found out the hard way the improper way to dispose of ashes. Let’s walk through some basic techniques that should be avoided:

  • Placing ashes in a trash can the day after a fire
  • Using a plastic trash can for the disposal
  • Having the trash can right next to the house

Thank goodness a friendly neighbor noticed the smoking trash can, or this could have been a more serious case. The only damage was to the trash can.

Timeline of Events:

The time-lapse of the destroyed trash can was within a 3-hour window. The ashes were placed at 1 pm, and the destroyed trash can was found at 4 pm.

Spread the Word:

This a mistake that is too easy to make, and that’s why we love to educate people. Please share this information, so no one makes the same mistake.

Source: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/

Are you prepared?

7/30/2018 (Permalink)

  1. What’s in your basement that you would be devastated to lose? MOVE IT!
  • Tubs are helpful but not a ‘for sure’ method of something being saved because they can flip upside down!
  • Be sure your sump pump is on its own electric circuit. Have a battery operated one for a true back up!
  • Keep it at least 3-4ft off the floor. Shelving at these heights can be more helpful for storage.
  1. Where are your important documents, pictures, passwords/usernames, codes, keys?
  • Make sure you have copies in a lock box at a different location than your home.
  • Use flash drives, DVD's, or CD’s along with a notebook entry. Keep a copy with someone else and in the lockbox.
  1. How many items do you have plugged into electrical outlets?
  • Do you regularly leave your phone charger plugged in WITHOUT the phone? A growing number of fires caused this way!
  • Know the amps available in your home. Just because there is an outlet doesn’t mean you can plug multiple items into all of them and carry the load without it causing an issue.

The lesson is don't keep your most important items in your basement because it's the most likely place to endure a loss.

For further questions, contact SERVPRO of Black Hawk County at (319) 268-1521.

Different Mold Types Part 1

7/27/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Different Mold Types Part 1 Mold can come in any shape and color. Check out these mold samples.

2 Classifications of Harmful Molds:

  • Allergenic: Molds that cause allergies and allergic reactions like asthma attacks.
  • Toxigenic: Molds that produce toxic substances that can lead to dangerous conditions.

Different types of mold:

1. Acremonium: A toxigenic mold type that changes in its appearance over time, and it typically grows in humidifiers, cooling coils, drain pans, and window sealants.

2. Alternaria: The most common allergenic mold type in the world, and it typically grows wherever dampness occurs (showers, bathtubs, and below leaking sinks). It is very quick to spread.

3. Aspergillus: This allergenic mold type has the potential to become toxic, and it is commonly found in American households. There are over 1,885 species appearing in many different colors.

Source: https://aerindustries.com/

More mold types to come in another blog post.

Different Mold Types Part 2

7/27/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Different Mold Types Part 2 If you find mold in your home, call SERVPRO of Black Hawk County at (319) 268-1521

4. Aureobasidium: An allergenic mold type that can sometimes be found growing behind wallpaper or on painted or wooden surfaces.

5. Chaetomium: A mold commonly found in water-damaged homes and buildings. It has a cotton-like texture and usually changes colors over time.

6. Cladosporium: An allergenic mold type that can grow in both warm and cold conditions. It often is found thriving in indoor materials such as fabrics, upholsteries, and carpets.

7. Fusarium: An allergenic AND toxigenic mold type that grows in homes with water damage. It is capable of growing and spreading at cold temperatures.

8. Mucor: An allergenic form of mold that usually grows in thick patches and grows near air conditioning, HVAC systems, and ducting due to moisture from condensation.

9.Penicillin: An allergenic form of mold that is easily recognizable by its blue or green colored surface with a velvety texture, and it is often found in water damaged buildings.

Source: https://aerindustries.com/ 

How to Put Out a Grease Fire

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Put Out a Grease Fire This is the aftermath of a grease fire.

Fires are scary. Grease fires are even scarier because we have to fight off our human instinct to throw water on the blazing flames. Yes, you heard right. Do not throw water on a grease fire. It’ll only make the situation worse. Odds are, if you put water on the grease fire, it’ll A) make it bigger and B) spray grease all over you—which may lead to minor burns.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County has been building awareness for several months now regarding the proper way to handle grease fires by handing out cans of baking soda. Here are steps to follow when dealing with a grease fire.

1. Get the Baking Soda

The number one way to put out a grease fire is sitting right in your kitchen: baking soda! That white powdery stuff works miracles in dowsing fires in your kitchen. We recommend keeping it in an easy-access area near your stove, but not right above your stove because tall flames can make it nearly impossible to grab in your moment of need.

2. Take Away Its Power

You should also turn off the source of heat as soon as possible. This will keep the fire from growing any bigger. 

3. Grab the Lid

If the fire isn’t too big, you can also cut off the oxygen supply by putting a lid over the pan. Just be careful not to burn yourself in the process.

Again, do NOT pour water on a grease fire. It’s bad news.

We encourage you to educate young teens who are learning to cook about the dangers of grease fires, and as always, if you have any fire damage, give us a call. We’ll make it, “Like it never even happened.”

Emergency Ready Plan

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Emergency Ready Plan Download the SERVPRO Ready Plan app today.

When thinking of a disaster, you hate to think that one would ever happen to you. However, it is very likely at some point in your life, you will be faced with some sort of loss in your home or business.

Have a plan.

SERVPRO has put together a program to prepare you for these life-changing events. It’s called the Emergency Ready Plan (ERP). This tool essentially collects the following information:

  • Emergency contacts (name, phone, email)
  • Main utility information (shut off locations for electric, gas, and water)
  • Additional utility contact info (alarm systems, sprinklers, IT server, etc.)
  • Insurance contact info
  • Property overview (can include contents)
  • Additional notes page for ANYTHING else homeowner/business owner wants to be included

The ERP boosts communication between all individuals alike involved in the restoration process.

To put it simply:

Think of an ERP as the key to get back into your house or business after a major loss. You probably already had an emergency exit plan, but what about the reentry process? No need to worry. That’s where the ERP comes to the rescue.

Convenience:

The ERP can be uploaded to your phone, home computer, or tablet via the mobile app called, “Ready Plan”. It is important to be able to access this information at any given time because life happens. One day your house is fine, and the next it’s not. You’ll want all this information handy and ready to go in case of an emergency.

Disclaimer:

By filling out an ERP, you are not married to doing business with us. In fact, we hope you never have to, but if you do, we’ll be ready with all the proper information ahead of time.

One last thing:

Perhaps the most important detail is that filling out the ERP takes 20 minutes, and it’s completely FREE. Not to mention if you have any questions, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is here to help you fill it out because we care. We really do.

You can be RUINED, or you can be READY! Choose to be ready.

Visit https://ready.SERVPRO.com/Account/Register to fill out your ERP today.

Emergency Ready Vehicle

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Emergency Ready Vehicle Thank your local American Red Cross for all of the amazing work they do.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County and the American Red Cross (ARC) are working together to ensure the Emergency Ready Vehicle (ERV) is equipped to serve the community in times of need.

Who’s ERV?

ERV brings supplies such as water and blankets to families who have recently encountered a disaster. When not in use, ERV is plugged in as a means to keep it charged and ready to go. Many of the calls that ERV responds to are storm and weather related. 

Opportunity Around the Bend  

Marketing Manager at SERVPRO of Black Hawk County, Debbie Robeson, came across the opportunity to house ERV after being on the Red Cross volunteer community board for almost a year. At the December Holiday party, she heard them talking about the woes of ERV being outside in the elements and how it was limiting them responding to emergencies quickly. Debbie said, “I asked Scott about keeping ERV with us and he was quick to say YES.”

The process started in January and required approval from ARC national headquarters in Washington DC. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County had to meet insurance requirements, upgrade security, and add key code access to their building. The contract was approved in March and the ERV arrived on April 24, 2018.

Looking Ahead

The ARC is looking to replace the current ERV in about year. With the rapid advancement of technology, a new one is overdue. With the help of fundraising, the ARC has already raised over $200,000 for the new vehicle.

Much Praise

Debbie spoke praises of her team when saying, “Scott’s leadership and trust in his team and how they pursue opportunities is a key part of making this possible. His passion for the community and being on the same page helped get this out together so quickly before someone else heard of the opportunity.”

New Skills to Better Serve YOU

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage New Skills to Better Serve YOU Here are some of the many certificates received by our versatile technicians.

We are proud to share that some of our technicians have undergone training recently and are now certified in new areas! 

Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT)

Jake Barkow, Devon Burgess, and Nicole Webb received certificates as Water Damage Restoration Technicians (WRT). The training was a 3-day process where they took the time to learn how to handle different losses.

For instance, in a water loss, they first have to determine what category the water belongs to. The different categories indicate the level of contamination the water has been exposed to.

  • Category 1 – Water comes from a clean source and does not pose a substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure.
  • Category 2 – Water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans.
  • Category 3 – Water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents.

Crazy right? Who would’ve thought there were different categories for water.

Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT)

Brett Armfield, Lana Bruhn, Autumn Kelly, and Nicole Webb all received a certificate as a Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT). Extra snaps and claps go to Nicole for doing both certifications back-to-back!

Once a technician receives additional training, they are now more versatile and able to take on more responsibilities and leadership roles. For example, our current Project Managers started out as technicians and kept receiving training. With time and mentoring, they both landed leadership roles at SERVPRO in Black Hawk County.

Call for Backup

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Call for Backup No job is too big for SERVPRO.

In the recent weeks, we have done a fair share of traveling outside of our assigned territory in order to help our neighbors and meet the demand. Just this summer, we have traveled to Mason City and Des Moines to assist with flash flooding.

Why SERVPRO?

The “Cool Factor” regarding SERVPRO is our phone tree. If one franchise cannot help a customer, they will pass the call along to another franchise nearby. No other restoration company is the COUNTRY does this. We pride ourselves in having the manpower to handle anything.

Wait, there’s more?

As if that wasn’t cool enough, we even have access to a disaster relief team during very large disasters such as the floods of 2008, 2010, and 2016. In these cases, an entire semi load of equipment is shipped to the disaster area in addition to a full-fledged disaster crew.

Be proactive.

If you are hit by flooding, do not wait to call. Too often water losses turn into mold losses because action isn’t taken. Give us a call before the situation gets out of hand. 

148 Emergency Response Guidlines

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 148 Emergency Response Guidlines Backed by 1,700 franchises- you can trust us.

We wait all the time. We wait in line. We wait for our food. We even wait for our packages to arrive in the mail. Well, the wait is over. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is promising right here and now that you will not have to wait for us.

We acknowledge the importance of emergency response time by living by the 148.

1 – Within one hour from notice of loss, we will contact you to arrange for service

4 – Within four hours of loss of notification, we will be on-site to start mitigation services (if necessary).

8 – Within eight business hours, we will communicate with you what needs to be done and how we will take action.

So, when a water or fire emergency strikes—regardless of the time and day—give us a call. We’ll be there because we’ve got your back. It’s as simple as that.

We'll make it, "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO 49th Annual Convention Takes Place in Florida

7/18/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial SERVPRO 49th Annual Convention Takes Place in Florida We brought the brand to life at the 49th Annual SERVPRO Convention!

Every year our SERVPRO Corporate Headquarters hosts a national meeting where franchises gather together to learn and network. Scott Demuth, owner of SERVPRO of Black Hawk County, and his family attended the week-long convention on behalf of our franchise.

The convention had many workshops during the week and was segmented for marketing, human resources, finance, production, office and technology, and executive departments. SERVPRO Corporate Trainers dedicate a majority of their time in the year to preparing for this convention to deliver the most relevant and helpful presentations.

One of the major points of the convention was integrating more advanced technology into our routine. For example, the use of iPads is a wonderful tool that many franchises take advantage of. Corporate suggested using this technology to take initial measurements, readings from equipment, and notes while onsite instead of the traditional pad and paper. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County has already taken the steps to fully integrate this method by the end of the summer. How exciting!

In addition to education and networking, this convention serves as a time to recognize hard work and dedication. This year SERVPRO awarded the Oregon/Northern CA/Western NV and the Woodlands/Conroe of Texas as the Franchisees of the Year.

We’re excited to celebrate SERVPRO’s 50th Annual Convention next year!

Things to do Before You Leave for Vacation

7/10/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Things to do Before You Leave for Vacation Rest easy soaking up the sun on a beach and know your house is a little safer while you're away.

Let’s be honest, a lot of terrible things can happen to your home, and you have 100% no control over it. A pipe bursts. A heavy rain comes. Whatever it may be, you are not in control.

There is also a small list of things you DO have control over, and you should take advantage of it before leaving for vacation this year. Follow these steps and rest easy while soaking up the sun on a beach.

1. Turn off the main water supply.

Now, why would you want to do that? Well, if we’re thinking of the worst-case scenario, you’ll probably have a leaking supply line the minute you step out the door for your week-long vacation. Greaaaat. Just what you wanted. But wait. If you shut off the water supply, the amount of water leaking is significantly lower. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes to do.

2. Check the sump pump.

Another scary thought is sump pump failure. That’s why you should check it before departing. Try dumping a bucket of water in and wait. Your sump pump should turn on and everything should be hunky dory. But if it doesn’t turn on, that’s a red flag.

3. Unplug Electronics.

Just do yourself a favor and unplug everything that isn’t plugged into a surge protector—as long as it’s switched off. Even then, unplug the surge protector if you want to be extra careful with unexpected power surges. You’ll also save money by doing this, so that’s neat.

4. Don’t turn your air off completely.

As tempting as it may be to save some money by turning off your air while away, try to resist. The reason you want to keep your air on is that your home needs air circulation; otherwise, heat can build up and effect wood floors and other surfaces alike. Setting your thermostat to 85 degrees will keep your electronics cool and will save you money too. You’re basically preventing your house from becoming a giant oven.

5. Check your gutters.

Downspouts should release water at least 10 ft. away from your house. If this is not the case for you, maybe an extension is in order.

6. Have a trusted friend check on your house, even if you don’t have any pets.

Nothing beats having a human being keep an eye on your home while away. Feel free to give specific instructions like, “Go check our basement to make sure there is no water in the furnace room.” They’ll care as much as you care, so be clear as to what you’re concerned about.

Keeping your home safe is our top priority, so please, take precautions before leaving for vacay and have a wonderful time.

Sources:

https://www.familyhandyman.com/

https://www.popularmechanics.com/

DIY Emergency Kit

7/10/2018 (Permalink)

In an emergency, what goes through your head in the 30 seconds you have to run to the basement? Maybe something like, “Where are the kids?!”, “Honey, grab the flashlights!”, and maybe, “Where’s my phone?”

In such a short time slot, it’s hard to think clearly, let alone think of everything you might need when heading for the basement. That’s why SERVPRO of Black Hawk wants you to have a Do It Yourself (DIY) Emergency Kit ready to go in times like this.

Emergency kits vary, but most are pretty similar. We recommend having the following on hand in your basement in an easy-access location:

  • Food: enough non-perishable items for your entire family for 3 days
  • Can opener—so you can actually eat the food
  • Water: 1 gallon per person for at least 3 days
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlights with fresh batteries
  • Blankets
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio
  • Phone chargers
  • Tennis shoes and socks
  • Extra pair of clothes for each family member
  • Candle and matches

Emergency kits are great for your home, car, and even workplace. They can be as big or small as you want.

We recommend re-evaluating and updating your kit every year. Depending on who’s living in your home with you, and the needs may change. Also, the food may expire, so swapping it out with fresh food is a great idea.

If you experience any storm damage, don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Black Hawk County. We’re here to help.

Source: https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.

MB Mold and Air Quality Testing

7/10/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation MB Mold and Air Quality Testing SERVPRO of Black Hawk County really appreciates MB Mold and Air Quality Testing and would recommend them to anyone.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County really appreciates MB Mold and Air Quality Testing and would recommend them to anyone.

Introduction:

MB Mold and Air Quality Testing is a company out of Dubuque who helps our customers with various indoor air quality issues (IAQ). They serve the Eastern Iowa area—including Dubuque, Waterloo, and Cedar Falls—as well as Southwest Wisconsin and Northwest Illinois area.

How does air quality testing work?

When we have a customer, who has a potential mold problem, we call our friend Bob Vohl, CIE, of MB Mold and Air Quality Testing. Ideally, an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) from MB Mold, will take initial samples when there is a suspected mold issue.

In our case, Bob makes regular trips from Dubuque, IA to take air samples in the home or building that is suspected of mold and also samples the outside environment. Typically, an air sample contains enough air so the results capture an accurate picture of about 600 square feet of the indoor environment. He then sends the samples to a lab and receives the results within 48 hours.

The samples taken outside are just as important as the ones inside the home—if not more. They use the outdoor results as a comparison because mold spores are everywhere—both outside AND inside. Having mold spores in your home or building is completely normal, but if there are more mold spores inside than outside, it indicates there is a source of mold inside the building and there’s a problem.

Wrap it up.

Here’s where SERVPRO of Black Hawk County comes in. We rely on their expertise so we can apply our expertise of remediating the mold problem and returning your building to a state of normal fungal ecology (NFE). The whole remediation process is explained on our website. After the remediation, MB Mold and Air Quality Testing will perform Post Remediation Verification (PRV) testing to ensure that the home or building has returned to NFE. If the results come back with more mold spores outside than inside, then it’s case closed, and we can finish the wrap-up.

How does mold testing work?

Over the counter mold testing kits gives very little information. These test kits require a swab of the suspected material being inserted into a liquid and waiting for a color change. They simply tell you that mold is present, which is normally the case in every building. If you’re concerned a specific piece of furniture has mold on it, this method may be acceptable. However, if you want to know the type of mold, if it is actively growing and most importantly how much of the building has been contaminated with airborne mold spores, we recommend getting an IEP.

From the man himself:

We reached out to Bob and he shared,

“The IEPs from MB Mold and Air Quality Testing have undergone rigorous training and are certified by the ACAC as Council Certified Indoor Environmentalists (CIEs).  They are extensively trained in several areas of IAQ in addition to mold, such as; allergen testing, methamphetamine residue, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), avian-bat-rodent droppings and several other IAQ issues.  MB Mold and Air Quality Testing works with residential and commercial customers and their buildings.”

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County really appreciates MB Mold and Air Quality Testing and would recommend them to anyone.

5 Facts About Smoke Damage

7/9/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 5 Facts About Smoke Damage Smoke damage to a wall.

Smoke damage is often overlooked, but it’s more prevalent than one would think. Discover five facts about smoke damage, so you can be prepared for a fire loss.

This Stinks—Literally

The smell of smoke can remain long after the fire occurred. For this reason alone, we highly recommend people receive professional help from SERVPRO of Black Hawk County in any fire loss. We use deodorizers, air scrubbers, and fogging equipment to eliminate the smell of smoke. 

If the smoky smell remains, it can actually impact the selling price of your home or business when you go to sell it.

Discoloration is Everywhere

Another burden of smoke damage is the discoloration. Walls, ceilings, household items, and more can be discolored after a fire. In the photo, you can see the walls have turned black due to excessive smoke—and no, it’s not a black and white photo.

Unsafe to your Health

As you have probably guessed, smoke damage is also bad for your health. Coughing is only the start, with respiratory problems to follow.

Speed is Key

Corrosion is the next thing to occur after a fire, and time is not your friend. With every day ash sits, more corrosion will occur.

Different Smoke Types Require Different Cleaning Methods

Perhaps the trickiest thing about smoke is there are different types, and each type requires a different cleaning method. 

If you experience any smoke damage, call SERVPRO of Black Hawk County right away. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Does your insurance policy cover Mold?

6/1/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Does your insurance policy cover Mold? Do you know what's hiding behind your walls? If you've had water damage, there could be something more.

Does your insurance policy cover mold?

Mold removal can be extremely costly, so you don’t want to find out too late that you’re not covered!

What’s included in mold coverage?

Coverage varies from policy to policy and state to state, so the only way to know for sure if your policy will cover mold removal is to read your policy carefully. Or, if the long document intimidates you, you can just ask your agent. It’s good to let the experts explain the nitty gritty details, that way you don’t miss a beat when an event does occur.

When Mold Coverage Exists:

In cases where mold coverage exists, coverage needs to be triggered by another covered cause of loss such as:

  • Burst pipe
  • Flood
  • Residual water from putting out a fire

Water Damage from a Leaky Roof

Homeowners insurance usually won’t pay for water damage that results from a leaky roof, and most policies won’t cover mold damage that results from a leaky roof, either. This is because it is within your responsibility to provide maintenance to your home. However, if damage to the roof is caused by a fallen tree or limb, that damage usually will be covered by homeowners’ insurance. In that case, your insurance policy might also cover any resulting mold damage.

Note: Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away

Most policies have a requirement that you take reasonable steps to mitigate damage. Once you are aware of a water loss you have a duty to address the condition to protect from further damage. If you are aware of otherwise covered water damage and fail to take any action, there could be coverage issue for the water damage as well as any resulting mold damage.

We hope you don’t need our services, but if you find mold in your home, call SERVPRO of Black Hawk County at (319) 268-1521. We’ll arrange mold testing with MB Mold and Air Quality Testing in Dubuque, a trusted firm we utilize.

When Storms or Floods hit anywhere from Black Hawk County to New Hampton, or even Grundy Center, SERVPRO is ready!

5/25/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage When Storms or Floods hit anywhere from Black Hawk County to New Hampton, or even Grundy Center, SERVPRO is ready! Life comes crashing in-THROUGH the CEILING! Our highly trained crews are ready to respond 24/7 to storm or flood damage in Black Hawk County.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County specializes in storm and flood damage cleanup.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated by Scott and Libby Demuth, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Black Hawk County or anywhere between New Hampton and Grundy Center, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,700 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States. That’s SERVPRO Strong!

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County, 319.268.1521

Using technology so you are READY not RUINED when disaster happens!

5/25/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Using technology so you are READY not RUINED when disaster happens! Preparing for the WORST, using technology, is the BEST way to be READY!

According to ready.gov, when a business suffers from a disaster the likelihood of reopening is only 60%.

When disaster comes, you can be ruined or you can be ready with the help of technology. The difference between those who make a comeback and those who don’t is preparedness. Here are some of the best ways to prepare for the worst.

  • Backup online: Various services such as Google and Dropbox offer secure, online document storage. Backup your important computer files and/or images of important documents online where they can be recovered immediately.
  • Stay informed: Follow local news, local government, FEMA and SERVPRO of Black Hawk County on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Mark yourself safe: Keep your family and friends up-to-date. Use Facebook’s Safety Check, or The American Red Cross’ Safe & Well site to mark yourself safe after you’ve been caught up in a natural disaster, or crisis situation.
  • Update Contact Info: Maintain current contact information in your e-mail and phone for family and friends you may need to contact in the event of an emergency.
  • Stay charged: Keep a portable charger charged up and ready to go in your home and vehicle. Solar powered chargers are available as an alternative to portable chargers. Solar chargers don’t require recharge and may be more reliable in the event of a natural disaster or crisis situation.
  • Get an Emergency READY Plan (ERP) put together by SERVPRO of Black Hawk County.Give us a call to make an appointment to have an ERP- Ready Plan put together for YOU!
  • Your local SERVPRO of Black Hawk County marketing department is specially trained to assist you in preparing an Emergency Ready Plan for your business.  Our READY Plan software is available at no cost and once completed you can manage in online yourself through the READY Plan mobile app.

It’s all about us, all for you! Training brings positive results at SERVPRO of Black Hawk County.

3/6/2018 (Permalink)

General It’s all about us, all for you! Training brings positive results at SERVPRO of Black Hawk County. Regional meeting brings hands on training and education for employees of SERVPRO'S across Iowa.

We invest in our SERVPRO of Black Hawk County employees by sending them to education classes put on at SERVPRO regional meetings.

Marketing departments from the SERVPRO’S across Iowa gather to discuss social media trends, and unique ways to educate homeowners and business proprietors on recovering from damages of water, fire and biohazard.

Project managers from Iowa experience hands on demonstrations by equipment venders as they discover new ways to use drying tools in homes and businesses.

Franchise owners study up on business advancements and network, sharing insights on clean-up efforts in water and fire losses.

It’s all about us, all for you! More instruction and training brings positive results during catastrophic times like flooding or a disaster with basement sewer back-up or restoring people’s lives after a fire.

Ask for SERVPRO of Black Hawk County when you have a fire or water problem.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County 2018 Continuing Education Classes with YOU in mind!

2/22/2018 (Permalink)

General SERVPRO of Black Hawk County 2018 Continuing Education Classes with YOU in mind! Todd Davis presenting continuing education class at Hawkeye Community College for SERVPRO of Black Hawk County in 2017.

Continuing education classes (CE) are an important part of practicing insurance for both personal lines and commercial agents.

Each state has different licensure requirements for insurance agents. In general, to obtain a license to sell insurance, one must pay a fee, complete a pre-licensing training course and pass a licensing examination.

Agent licenses must be renewed and maintained by completing continuing education.

The magic number 36 is how many credit courses Iowa resident licensees must complete of CE’s every three years. Only 18 hours of the total requirement can be earned through self-study unless a course is part of a national designation.   Three hours of ethics training must be included as part of the overall CE requirement.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County organizes and makes possible classroom CE credit courses. The courses are presented by a licensed speaker that has been approved and has their classes registered in the State of Iowa.

2018 CE classes being offered by SERVPRO of Black Hawk County:

May 9:

  • Ethics Boot Camp (3 CE’s) 9:00 to 12:00
  • Navigating Insurance Claims (4 CE’s) 1:00 to 5:00

October 23:

  • Insurance Hot Topics & Trends (4 CE’s) 8:30 to 12:30
  •  For a few dollars more, Endorsements (4 CE’s) 1:00 to 5:00
  • Fee for 1 class per day is $20.00, both classes taken on the same day is $35.00.

Space is limited, registration is on a first come, first served basis.

Back by popular demand, Instructor Todd Davis, Davis Agency Insurance of Peoria, Illinois, will teach these all new courses. Conveniently located with plenty of parking, the classes take place at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. 

Email Debbie Robeson at debbie@SERVPRObhc.com for registration material.

Water Extraction versus Evaporation

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Extraction versus Evaporation Weighted extraction "Ride On"

There are two ways that excess water can be removed from your property after a water damage loss, Extraction and Evaporation.  A much larger volume of water can be removed by extraction in a much shorter period of time. 

It is a pretty simply process to test, pour a few ounces of water on the counter top in two different areas.  Set up a fan blowing across one area to utilize air movement to speed up evaporation.  Use a sponge or dry cloth on the other area.  Needless to say, this will prove the point.  The same is true during a water damage loss to your home or business.

At SERVPRO of Black Hawk County we utilize both methods to get your property dried up as quickly as possible.

For extraction, we use several pieces of equipment including hard floor wands and carpet extraction machines, including this "ride on" weighted model pictured.  Strong suction and downward pressure allows us to get water out of carpet and pad. This process is the most effective on free or surface water.

Once the water has been soaked into other materials such as, hardwood floors, drywall or wood, extraction becomes less effective and we concentrate on evaporation.

Evaporation uses a combination of air movement, dehumidification and sometimes heat to remove water that is bound or soaked into hard to dry materials.

Whether you have excessive surface water immediately after a storm or other water event or you have water that has become bound in building materials, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County has the tools and knowledge to make it "Like it never even happened."  

Content and picture provided by SERVPRO of Dubuque, 2017.

Phone Charger Shorted Causing Fire Damage

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Phone Charger Shorted Causing Fire Damage This is a phone charger that was plugged in and shorted out causing fire damage.

In a continuing education class presented by Todd Davis, Davis Agency Insurance, for SERVPRO of Black Hawk County, Todd pointed out that one fast growing fire hazard was phone chargers left plugged in for extended time periods. Look around, do you have one plugged in now and possibly without a phone attached?

To prove the point, I am sharing a story from SERVPRO of Dubuque, Iowa. They were recently called to clean up and rebuild a local home that sustained significant fire, soot and smoke damage due to an electrical fire.

As usual they were prevented from beginning their work until after the Cause and Origin Specialist had reviewed the scene and determined the cause of the fire.

It ended up in this case that a cell phone charger was left plugged in after the phone was removed after charging overnight.  The charger shorted out and started a fire resulting in $50,000 plus in damage.

It is commonly known that charging a phone while on top of a flammable surface such as in bed or on a sofa is a fire hazard, but what about once the phone is removed from the charger?

Most people are unaware that once the phone or even the charging cord are disconnected there is still power being drawn by the "wall plug".

As we find that we use more and more mobile electronics in our daily lives, most of us have a handful of different chargers for our cell phones, tablets and other accessories.  It is common to leave wall plugs or car chargers plugged in and simply disconnect our devices.  Unfortunately doing so is not only a fire hazard but is becoming one of the most frequent causes of electrical fires in homes.

Two possible preventative measures are either simply unplugging all chargers when not currently in use or to plug all chargers into a quality GFI power strip and turn it off when not utilizing the chargers.

I hope this information will be helpful and can prevent a dangerous and costly fire in your home or business.  Should you have a fire or water damage loss, please remember SERVPRO.  We can make it "Like it never even happened."

Thank you to SERVPRO of Dubuque for sharing the picture and story.

Freeze Drying can save your valuable documents and important papers when they have been damaged by water!

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Freeze Drying can save your valuable documents and important papers when they have been damaged by water! SERVPRO'S Large Scale Vacuum Freeze Drying Document Chamber.

SERVPRO Strong! That’s what I call our relationship with the rest of the SERVPRO franchises! We are unique in the fact that we all work together, sharing resources to better serve you!

One resource is large scale and portable document drying chambers. SERVPRO of Dubuque, Iowa offers a document restoration service.  It’s true other restoration companies have this service, so what is the difference?

For starters, they have one of the only HIPAA certified document response crews in the area.  If an event causes documents to get wet, response time is critical to stabilize the documents before they begin to degrade.  Once the documents are frozen to stabilize them, we have plenty of time to discuss restoration options with the client.

The most effective method of restoration is vacuum freeze drying.  The documents are brought under extreme vacuum to very low temperatures and sublimation will remove the moisture directly into a gas form.

SERVPRO of Dubuque has a large freeze drying chamber located in the Midwest, as well as access to one of the only mobile drying chambers in the country.  The mobile unit can be delivered to a client’s building and the restoration can take place there.  They are one of the only restoration companies that can accommodate this request.

Here is a list of items that can be salvaged using vacuum freeze drying:

  • Books and manuscripts: coated papers, maps, parchment, pulp paper, drafting linens, text books, reference books, manuals
  • Business/Personal records and documents: legal/bank/company files, patient and medical records, x-rays, engineering and architectural plans and drawings, catalogues, reference materials, certificates, contracts, passports, transcripts, tax records
  • Historical and collectible items: archival documents, rare documents, maps, stamp collections, money collections
  • Keepsakes: photographs, leather and hide items, newspaper articles, recipe books, cards, scrapbooks, baby books, wedding albums, yearbooks, baskets, awards & achievements
  • Textiles: embroidery and needlework, silks, tapestries, flags
  • Artwork: acrylic paintings, linen drawings, water colors.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County utilizes these services. From a single file cabinet filled with personal financial documents to a warehouse full of documents, it can all be handled. 

When you have SERVPRO of Black Hawk County cleaning and restoring your home or business, you will have a multitude of resources available to you! That’s the SERVPRO strong way!

Content provided by SERVPRO of Dubuque, 2017.

One incredible washing machine cleaning and restoring your items, the Esporta!

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning One incredible washing machine cleaning and restoring your items, the Esporta! An inside look of the Esporta washing machine. Four multi chamber sections make up this appliance.

The Esporta Wash System, restores up to 85% of the soft contents that have been traditionally non-restorable!

Here's why it's important for you to know WHERE & HOW your content is being cleaned & restored.

  • Your content will be cleaned by the latest technology - not harsh dry cleaning methods or out of date equipment & methods. The computer determines what is needed based on content.
  • The Esporta will hold up to at least 6 standard loads of laundry, with room to spare.
  • Your content will be inventoried and cataloged for more expedited claim process.
  • Your content is stored in a safe, controlled environment.
  • You will have emergency laundry cleaned and returned quickly.

Examples of what the Esporta can do is decontamination of soft content, remove smoke, odor and stains, and clean sewage damaged clothing. It can hold a variety of sized items in its multi chambered sections.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County utilizes the Esporta Wash System which is located at the SERVPRO of Burlington, Iowa site.

Providing more restoration resources for you so we can make it “Like it never even happened.”®

Restoring Your Black Hawk County Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

1/5/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Restoring Your Black Hawk County Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event Extracting water from a broken water pipe after it floods a business's basement before an event.

Flooding and water damage events at commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Black Hawk County

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

http://www.SERVPROblackhawkcounty.com/water-damage-restoration     

Black Hawk County Residents: Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold

6/13/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Black Hawk County Residents:  Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold Without proper training, you could be spreading mold throughout your home. SERVPRO using protective suit, mask and equipment to remove mold.

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of Black Hawk County for mold remediation services.

What Not to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County specializes in mold cleanup and restoration. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – SERVPRO of Black Hawk County 319-268-1521.

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Home!

5/25/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Home! An upstairs fire that burned and smoldered within the roof destroyed this home. Materials like wet insulation add another layer of cleanup and odor.

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 
319-268-1521

Its The Water You Don't See That Causes The Most Damage! SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is available 24/7 for your water damage issues.

5/2/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Its The Water You Don't See That Causes The Most Damage! SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is available 24/7 for your water damage issues. Standing water in the kitchen and flowing into the living area after a broken pipe flooded this home.

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Black Hawk County arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – SERVPRO OF Black Hawk County

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Black Hawk County

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Our Highly Trained Restoration Specialists can restore your home!

3/15/2017 (Permalink)

General Our Highly Trained Restoration Specialists can restore your home! SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is Trained and Certified in Water, Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation, and Carpet Cleaning.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.


IICRC Certified Firms must



  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.


The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry


The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.


Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.


About SERVPRO of Black Hawk County


SERVPRO of Black Hawk County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

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